Live updates: NHS England confirms six more patients have died in hospitals across the North East after testing positive for Covid-19

On Sunday, May 17, NHS England has confirmed that six more patients have died in North East hospitals after testing positive for Covid-19. South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust reported three new deaths.Hartlepool's NHS trust reported no further coronavirus-related deaths. Concerns over reopening schools are continuing, as well as pressure on the Government to pay attention to concerns in the North East that easing restrictions may have come too soon for the region.

NHS England has confirmed a further six coronavirus-related deaths in the North East on Sunday, May 17. Photo: PA Copyright: PA (Press Association)

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Last updated: Sunday, 17 May, 2020, 15:50

  • Latest figures from NHS England show the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in the North East stands at 1,236
  • South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust confirms a further three patients have died after testing positive for Covid-19
  • Hartlepool's NHS trust has reported no new deaths on Sunday, May 17
  • Across England, a further 90 patients have sadly passed, bringing the total number to 24,617
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3.50pm: Business Secretary Alok Sharma set to hold the daily briefing

Business Secretary Alok Sharma is set to hold with daily coronavirus briefing live from number 10 Downing Street. The press conference is set to start at 4pm.

3.25pm: Latest figures from Scotland

A total of 2,103 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, up by nine from 2,094 on Saturday, according to latest Scottish Government statistics.

In total, 14,537 have tested positive for the virus, up 90 from 14,447 the day before, figures published on Sunday showed.

3.05pm: No further deaths announced by Hartlepool's NHS trust

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust have announced no new coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of people who have died in hospitals managed by the trust remains at 96.

3.00pm: South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS foundation trust announces three more coronavirus-related deaths

NHS England has confirmed a further three coronavirus related deaths at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Trust. The total number of people to die in hospitals managed by the trust now stands at 305.

2.55pm: Latest figures from England

NHS England has confirmed a further 90 patients have died after testing positive for Covid-19.

The total number of people who have died in England's hospitals now stands at 24,617. Patients were aged between 45 and 100 years old with one of the 90 patients having no known underlying health condition.

2.15pm: Latest figures from Wales

A further 12 people in Wales have died after testing positive for Covid-19, taking the total number of deaths to 1,203. Public Health Wales said a further 162 people had tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 12,304.

1.45pm: Hospital pharmacist believes lockdown has been eased too soon

As a pharmacist working in a busy London hospital, Arvinder Sarai is concerned that the public needs to be "vigilant" about the spread of the coronavirus.

Ms Sarai said: "To be honest, I don't think the rules should change. We might be over the peak but we don't know what there is to come. "It's a very novel virus, we're learning as we're combating it. 

"People should be vigilant, now is not the time to be sunbathing in a park just because Boris Johnson says it's okay."

1.00pm: "Game changing" project to train Covid dogs to detect symptoms of coronavirus

The trials, involving Durham University, will form part of research into potential non-invasive, early-warning methods of detecting the virus, and are being backed by GBP500,000 of government funding. The dogs, which are already used to sniff out diseases such as cancer, malaria and Parkinson's disease, will be given intensive training to spot Covid-19 before symptoms appear. Read more here. Copyright: Other 3rd Party

12.40pm: Labour deputy leader believes there needs to be "some investigation" in the number of care home deaths

Angela Rayner has said "There should be some investigation into that and Sir Keir Starmer has requested that because every single death is tragic."

Ms Rayner added care workers have been "tragically let down".

Prime Minister calls for more patience on road back to normality

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called for more patience from the nation as it plots a course back to normality, saying he is backing the British public's fortitude and common sense to help the country recover. Writing the Mail on Sunday, Mr Johnson acknowledged frustrations over Government plans for emerging from the coronavirus lockdown. Restrictions in England have been eased - and the Government message softened from "stay at home" to "stay alert" - but Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have not followed suit.

With debate over reopening of schools and return to work raging, an Opinium survey released this weekend has shown public dissatisfaction with the Government's response to Covid-19 has overtaken approval for the first time. Mr Johnson said he could "understand people will feel frustrated with some of the new rules" but urged Britons to remain patient so that the country "does not risk reversing the gains we have so far won in the fight against the virus".

Airport boss makes plea for flights to restart between 'low risk' countries

Industry bosses are urging the Government to begin planning flights between "low risk" countries in order to rebuild the economy. Heathrow Airport chief executive John Holland-Kaye said he believes the UK should adopt a risk-based approach in order to determine where flights can travel to and from, as he warned the UK economy will suffer if quarantine measures continue for longer.

He said it is more than "just about going on holiday", as 40% of the UK's exports go on passenger planes from Heathrow. "Aviation is the lifeblood of the UK economy, so many manufacturers rely on the supply chain coming by air, their exports go by air," he told Sky News.

Gove admits 'big lessons need to be learned' over care homes

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has said there are "big lessons" to be learned from the treatment of care homes during the coronavirus outbreak. Mr Gove said the Government had taken "significant steps" to improve the situation of those in care homes.

However, amid growing criticism that they had failed to provide adequate support to the sector, he acknowledged the situation remained a "challenge". "There are big lessons to be learned," he told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show. "We are still living through this pandemic and there will be lessons to be learned.

We have taken significant steps to improve the care of people in care homes. "There will be a point in the future when all of us can look back and reflect and make sure we have learned the appropriate lessons."

The Who frontman praises Britain's response to virus

The Who frontman Roger Daltrey has said he is proud of the British public for their resilience in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. He told the PA news agency: "I'm very proud of us on that, and again our frontline clinicians and clinical care workers, I'll clap all day long for."

He added: "I do feel sorry for young musicians and, you know, also orchestral musicians, these people that have studied for years and years and years to play in orchestras. "They're all out of work - the road crews, the truck drivers, the lighting people, the whole industry is sitting on its fingers, it's horrendous."

Former Tory Education Secretary says "time is now" for returning to school

Damian Hinds, former Conservative education secretary, told BBC Breakfast it is "totally understandable" that people have concerns about their children returning to school and that he would expect teaching unions to be thinking about their members, adding this is "absolutely right". He added that he thinks "the time is right now" for pupils to begin to return, saying "there is a lot scientific advice and analysis gone into this".

Mr Hinds said there is "flexibility" in the Government's plans, so that if there is an outbreak of Covid-19 in one part of the country, there can be a response to that.  He said the effects of not being in school have been "felt by children throughout the country, especially the most disadvantaged". He said it is "right" that there is transparency about how plans are being made and that is why bodies including the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies has published papers.

Mayor calls for Government to publish R rate for each region

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has called for the Government to publish the R value per region in England to help communities ease lockdown restrictions.

The former Labour MP wrote in the Observer on Sunday that the Prime Minister could fracture national unity unless he listens to regional concerns, adding the lifting of measures came too quickly for the north. Speaking to BBC Breakfast he called for the Government to publish a regional breakdown of the R value - which measures how many people on average one infected person transmits the disease to - to give people confidence they are making the right decisions at the right time, including on the reopening of schools. He said: "People do not have the R information at the moment.

They can get it, but it's not formally published by the government. "There's a very different picture in the north, particularly in the north east, where the R is the highest, so I can understand concerns [about lifting lockdown measures]. "Let's get back around the table, look at the evidence and have some flexibility in terms of how [children] return to school because it will be different for different places."

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